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Jamie's Dinners: Salmon and Couscous

Yet another "Five Minute Wonders" recipe. I just can't stop making them!

This one needs a bit of tweaking, but the overall idea is very tasty. Using salmon fillets means that the skin is still on. Comedy can ensue when you're trying to eat it, since the salmon is lying atop a bed of couscous and vegetables, not sitting flat on a plate. If you're trying to avoid the skin and fatty dark flesh, things can get silly really quickly. I recommend that you pull the salmon flesh away from the skin before you serve it. That way you can discard the skin, and you won't find yourself trying to maneuver around errant slices of zucchini while peeling the salmon away from the skin.

About proportions: this is a pretty big serving for one person. It makes a hearty dinner. I used 2/3 cup of couscous, instead of the 3/4 cup called for in the recipe, and had more than enough. If you want to make this dish as a lunch for two, you could use 1 cup of couscous and about 9 or 10 oz. of salmon. Increase the veggies slightly, and ta-da! Lunch for you and a friend.

Of all the "Five Minute Wonders" I've tried, this one took the longest. But 20 minutes is still mighty fast, and if you don't mind really al dente vegetables and/or medium-rare salmon, you could cook it for a shorter time. I wanted the vegetables to be crisp-tender, and the salmon fully cooked, so I gave it about 10 total minutes on the stovetop.

If you've been reading all the "Five Minute Wonders" recipes, you may have noticed that every last one of them contains a "small red chili" on the ingredients list. This appears to be Jamie Oliver's go-to seasoning for quick recipes. I've made them optional, since I don't always need everything to be spicy. Add them if the mood strikes you. If small red chilis are not readily available in your area, substitute serrano chilis or whatever small hot peppers you can find.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 large serving (use increased proportions as suggested below for 2 lunch servings)

2/3 cup couscous (for 2 servings, use 1 cup couscous)
6 to 8 oz. salmon fillet, skin on (for 2 servings, use 9 to 10 oz.)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks (for 2 servings, use a medium zucchini)
1 small handful asparagus tips (for 2 servings, use a full bunch of asparagus tips)
1 fresh red chili, seeded and chopped (use whatever chilis are available) (optional)
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Crème fraîche, optional

Put couscous in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Cover with plastic or a saucepan lid and set aside to absorb the water.

Slice the salmon width-ways into finger-sized strips. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a small nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add the salmon strips on their sides. Add the zucchini and asparagus (and chili if using) and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring the vegetables occasionally, and turning the salmon over halfway through.

Mix the tomatoes, lemon juice, cilantro, and 2 Tbsp olive oil (4 Tbsp if making 2 servings) into the couscous. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the salmon strips to a plate and flake the flesh away from the skin, trying to keep the pieces together as much as possible. Discard the skin.

Add the couscous mixture to the veggies in the pan and mix together. Add the salmon back to the pan, put a lid on top, and turn the heat up to high, just to heat everything through, about 1 minute. Slide the mixture onto a plate and spoon on some crème fraîche, if desired.



Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Jamie's Dinners: Salmon and Couscous:

» Jamie's Dinners: Parmesan Fish Fillets with Avocado and Cress Salad from The Cookbook Critic
Jamie's Dinners has a chapter called "Five Minute Wonders." These are super-quick dinner ideas that can be pulled together in a flash.... [Read More]

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